Just reading through the list of all that Dr Alexandra Ross achieved whilst she was the post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for Curating the Archive, is an exhausting activity. Since her period with the CCA has now unfortunately come to an end, we thought we’d share what one individual can fit into a mere two years.
Starting in 2015, Dr Ross taught and supervised Undergraduate, Honours and Masters students, facilitated PhD-workshops, delivered lunchtime lectures and presentations at both national conferences (SAVAH) and international symposiums (Transart Triennale in Berlin), wrote articles for national (De Arte) and international publications (ELSE Art and Cultural Journal, NY), the CCA website and various other diverse blogs, and is in the process of editing a publication by the Italian curator Alfredo Cramerotti.
(Take a breath, the list continues.)
She also formulated curatorial projects at the Transart Triennale, and is working on a curated audio series (with Mnemoscape Journal) and organised a live screening event from the Whitechapel Gallery of Public Art (Now) in 2015, which included a pre-streaming discussion with local practitioners relating to public art in Cape Town and South Africa. During that same year, she also organised the screening of the Creative Time Summit live from the Venice Biennale, allowing us to experience a bit of the biennale from the comfort of our lecture theatre seats. For short periods during both 2015 and 2016, she was also the writer-in-residence at Skaftfell Arts Center (Seydisfjordir,Iceland) and in May 2015, a guest tutor on the Vessel Curatorial Retreat (Bari, Italy). In 2016, she orchestrated three Art+Feminism Wikipedia-a-thon training and edit sessions with Jess Holdengarde (in association with WikimediaZA) on campus. Very well attended, these Cape Town gatherings were one of the many nodes within the global Art+Feminism movement addressing the disparity in the gender gap of Wikipedia’s pages.
Over and above all these activities, her core research output has been researching into the contemporary art collection of the South African National Gallery (SANG) and curating a series of discursive events that mine into the collection and its surrounding narratives. Working with the staff of the South African National Gallery, she curated a programme of discursive events, (internal and public roundtables) on the topic of how and when one can gather and insert the artist’s voice (both literally and conceptually) into the museum and its collection.
Up to this point, we’ve only listed what she achieved in an academic sense. In between all the organising, teaching, curating, supervising, researching, presenting and writing, we had the privilege to gain a fellow who was also charming and self-deprecating, compassionate, enthusiastic about South Africa and its traditions and culture and (a rarity in academia) a warm and generous intellectual – with an impeccable dress-sense to boot.
Dr Ross will be well missed by all the staff at the CCA. We wish her all the best for her future endeavors, which we know will be executed with her customary intellectual rigour and flair.
Contribution of written content to the Centre for Curating the Archive website including:
Review of VESSEL/MADA International Curatorial Retreat
Review of the South African Visual Art Historians’ Conference 2015
An Introduction to the Art and Nuance of Conversation
Initiated of a series entitled Finding Common Ground Over Distance with edition one Alexandra Ross in Conversation with Gayle Meikle
Edition 2: A conversation between Gayle Meikle and Irwan Ahmett
Interviewed for Centre for Curating website on the Art+Feminism Wikipedia-a-thon campaign with my collaborator Jess Holdengarde, by Houghton Kinsman – in two parts:
Part 1 and Part 2
 Writing in association with the project ‘A Polyphonic Essay on Intimacy and Distance’:
Co-authored piece for Mnemoscape Journal
Blog entry ‘…on intimacy ’
Blog entry ‘…on distance.’
Article for ARTTHOB online: This is not an interview: How to represent conversation in the digital realm, by Houghton Kinsman, Artthrob, South Africa
An example included: ‘(Re)collecting performance’ July 2016
Summary: Reflection on the documentation of performance and event-based projects in the recent history of SANG. Discussion reflected upon performance practices, materiality and archival frameworks in light of the resistance performance art has had historically to recording and acquisition.